Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Gembrook Union Church

These are photographs taken in the 1980s of the Gembrook Union Church and the Gembrook Catholic Church, Sacred Heart. The Union Churches have always interested me - they seemed to have been built in small communities, with a eucumenical spirit. There was one built at Yannathan in 1890, which was used by the Anglicans, the Presbyterians and the Methodists.It was used until 2011, when it closed down and was sold. There is also a Union Church at Officer. This was built in 1929 after 500 pounds was raised from members of the public. Previous to this, church services took place in the public hall.

The Gembrook Union Church, taken in the 1980s.

According to Bill Parker in his book Forest to Farming, the Gembrook Union Church was opened on April 6, 1879. The land, on the corner of Ure Road and Mountain Road,  was donated by the Reverend John Bromby  on the condition that the building could be used by all denominations. The property was 'owned' by the Pastoral Aid Society, a union between the Church of England and the Presbyterian Church.  The first services were Anglican and they were conducted by the Minister at Berwick. Later services were Presbyterian. The church is now the Gembrook Uniting Church. In 1905, an Anglican Church was built in Gembrook, St Silas.  St Silas was closed around 1994 and is now privately owned, though it does still seem to be used for some services.

Another view of the rather austere Gembrook Union Church, taken in the 1980s.

The third church built in Gembrook was Sacred Heart Catholic Church, built in 1921. Bill Parker writes that it was built by a Mr Twyford, 'a skilled carpenter and devout Anglican'. It is in Main Street in Gembrook and still operates today. It is pictured above, in a photograph taken in the 1980s.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Mystery photographs - are they of Dewhurst?

I have been scanning some Shire of Pakenham slides, most are of streetscapes and rural views in the Shire taken in the 1980s and early 1990s. However, some are copies of old photographs, like the ones below.  I know the one immediately below is of the Dewhurst State  School, which operated from 1934 until 1953. But the  rest are mystery shots,although I believe they are also Dewhurst. The original town is now under the Cardinia dam, which was completed in 1973 - so were these photographs collected by the Shire to commemorate the  lost town?  If you can help identify them, I would be very grateful.   I put this post up in September and today (October 2, 2013) I spoke to Mrs Dorothy Burgess (nee Bishop) who grew up in Dewhurst. They had an apple orchard, next to the school. In fact, her mother, as a young girl was responsible for naming the town. The area was always known as North Beaconsfield, but the Progress Association wanted another name - there was a choice of three and in the end young Frances Shanks, selected Dewhurst. You can see some other Dewhurst photographs here.

Dewhurst State School

This is the interior of the Dewhurst School.

Mrs Burgess has identified these Dewhurst students. The teacher, at left,  is Joyce Little (later to become Mrs Taylor). The students in the back row are Dorothy Bishop, Mary Hamilton and Stan Hamilton. Middle row: Margaret Bishop, Margaret Halley, Janice Peart and David Halley. Front row: George Bishop, Helen Turner and Robert Wilson. Photograph taken around 1947.

These Dewhurst students are (left to right) Janice Peart, Winston Champion, George Bishop and Margaret Halley.

This was a Christmas play / concert. Left to right - Stan Hamilton, Margaret Bishop, George Bishop, Brian Davidson, Dorothy Bishop and Mary Hamilton.

This is the Dewhurst Methodist Church and is the wedding of Mary Hamilton and Alan Burgess, around 1954. The land for the church was donated by John Shanks, the grandfather of Mrs Burgess. This is the second church, the first one having burnt down. This was built by John Shanks and Edwin Hamilton. The last service took place in December 1972 and the church was sold and jacked up ready to taken away with a low loader when someone came in and stole the whole building. Not a very holy thing to do.

This is the wedding party - left to right - Ron Burrows, Hilda Hamilton; Bride Groom Alan Burgess; Bride Mary Hamilton; Thomas (Alex) Burgess, Ettie Hamilton; Robert Burgess and Lois Horan. Alex married Dorothy Bishop a few years later, in 1957, in fact you can see their wedding photograph, along with some other Dewhurst photographs, here.